Ayaan speaks with Megan Phelps-Roper about leaving the Westboro Baptist Church. They discuss how we can bridge the divide and have empathetic conversations across ideological lines.

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka, Kansas church known internationally for its daily public protests against members of the LGBTQ community, Jews, other Christians, the military, and countless others. As a child, teenager and early 20-something, she participated in the picketing almost daily and spearheaded the use of social media in the church.

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Perhaps no other story so perfectly epitomizes the fight for freedom of worship than the story of Hanukkah. Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be […]

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Notre Dame Cathedral Gets Disney Makeover

 

Some plans have leaked for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral (you know, the one that was hit by a devastating fire that in no way symbolized anything). They call for removing confessional boxes, altars, and classical sculptures and replacing them with a light show of scriptures projected on the walls, modern art murals with more sounds and light to create “emotional spaces,” a “discovery trail” of 14 themed chapels with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, and an environmentally-themed chapel. I am not making this up.

Some critics see this as desecration of a sacred space. On the other hand, if the goal is to gut the place of items of religious significance and replace them with trendy performance art, a lecture on diversity, and an altar to Gaia, I think they’ve absolutely nailed the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st Century.

It Is Truly Right and Just to Give Thanks

 

Today is the great American holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s not a religious holiday, and yet it is religious. It is a day to thank God for all the blessings he has given us. Since all religions, I think, thank God in some way and since we have many religions in the United States living side by side, this is a perfect American holiday. One that we can all share.

But we Catholics know gratitude to the Lord in a special way. Every Mass as part of the Eucharistic Prayer (part of the consecration of the bread and wine) we offer God our thanks. This exchange which leads to the Eucharistic Prayer should be familiar to Catholics.

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This is an exchange from a continuing conversation with a group of very liberal (and, by the way, mostly very nice and unusually willing to engage)  ministers. Those of you who are familiar with my Rico-ouvre will note the  uncharacteristic brevity of my reply. Most of my contributions to the conversation are extremely long, detailed […]

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Quote of the Day: Do You Pray for America?

 

“Prayer has two dimensions, one mysterious, the other not. There are simply too many cases of prayers being answered for us to deny that it makes a difference to our fate. It does. I once heard the following story. A man in a Nazi concentration camp lost the will to live—and in the death camps, if you lost the will to live, you died. That night he poured out his heart in prayer. The next morning, he was transferred to work in the camp kitchen. There he was able, when the guards were not looking, to steal potato peelings. It was these peelings that kept him alive. I heard this story from his son.” — Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

 Particularly over the last year, I’ve read how many people have called for prayers for themselves or others: prayers for those we care about in the Ricochet prayer group; prayers for understanding and solace. And a number of people have shared that they are praying for our country.

Knowing that we at Ricochet are a serious group that calls for action from our government that helps and doesn’t cripple us—securing the border, stopping eccentric and costly legislation, asking Republicans to act as if they care about America—I wonder if people also believe that prayer can have a positive effect on the future of our country.

A Day of Blessings

 

Today was a day of blessings. My wife had an automotive semi-emergency, I visited the ER, we both missed work; yet we were blessed.

I awoke at 6, just before Mrs Doc Robert, herself an MD, kissed me goodby as she headed to work an hour away. I had a bit of a backache and decided to return to bed for an hour rather than do my treadmill time.

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  Our country is currently experiencing a crisis at our southern border. At least some would call it a crisis. Others may call it an opportunity to re-make our nation and our world.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing call for a world without borders, a world where there would be no […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Pastor Robert Soto, a Lipan Apache religious leader and award-winning feather dancer who has successfully upheld his Native American cultural heritage and religious liberties in federal courts. As the country celebrates Native American Heritage Month, Pastor Soto shares his personal journey as a religious leader and describes the Lipan Apache Tribe. They discuss his experience upholding religious liberties under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, with the help of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, after being threatened with criminal fines and imprisonment for using eagle feathers in spiritual ceremonies (a practice banned by the federal government). He also offers thoughts on how American schoolchildren should be taught about the influence of Native American culture across the country and the proud history of Native peoples.

Stories of the Week: Education has played a key role in the Virginia gubernatorial election – is this campaign a harbinger of political battles to come? Analysis of data on the costs of a bacherlors degree, compared to students’ income two years after graduation, reveals a low return on investment at a number of colleges and universities.

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Biden claims that that the Pope is happy that he is a good Catholic. I’m not a Catholic, so I may be wrong on the doctrine, but wouldn’t it be God who determines if someone is a “good” Catholic and not the Pope? And does being a “good” Catholic count with God? (That’s not an […]

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Ayaan speaks with Lawrence Krauss about the new religion of wokeism and how it spread throughout academia. They discuss the impacts that political correctness and cancel culture have on science, and what it means for the future.

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist.

Christian Doctrine: I Did Not Make It, It Is Making Me

 

“Do you see my bookshelves over there?” All heads would turn toward the thousands of books surrounding them in my classroom. “Do you think that’s real wood?” I would offer. “It feels like vinyl,” one would say, hands close enough to touch. “But it looks like real wood!” another would say.

I would then show them the back edge of an extra shelf; exposed particle board greeted their gaze. “Now the advertisement says,” I continued, “I can pick from cherry or walnut grains. But in all honesty, I’m simply buying a thin veneer of plastic, covering pressed wood.” My bookshelf illustration was about to bring home the truth. “This is exactly what false teaching is like,” I concluded, “It looks right, at first glance, but upon further inspection, it is shown to be wrong. Heresy depends on attracting our attention, then leading us astray.”

The word “heresy” comes from the Greek word meaning “to choose.” Any move toward heresy, toward falsehood, is choosing to step away from biblical teaching. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” And there is the issue. What we believe, creates how we live. I think the Christian singer Rich Mullins said it best:

Faith Transcends Reason

 

File:St Paul's Cathedral Dome from One New Change - Square Crop.jpg

The ball and the cross at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Picture by Colin; click for details.

Things that can be true at the same time:

There is some evidence for the truth of some religious claims.
Some religious claims cannot be perfectly proven.

There is some evidence for the truth of some religious claims.
Some religious claims are beyond our complete comprehension.

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In my Land of Confusion interview, I mentioned I was studying to be a Lay Dominican.  Dave and Flicker were unsure what that was exactly.  I don’t think I made myself clear as to what is a Lay Dominican.  It’s not easy to do in a few words, so I promised I would write a […]

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The COVID Priests

 

Aaron said, “Sir, don’t be angry. You know the people — that they’re intent on evil. They told me, ‘Make a god for us who will go before us because, as for this fellow Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him.’” (Exodus 32:22-23)

The Israelites were worried and scared. Their leader Moses was AWOL, or so they thought. They needed someone to take care of them, someone to tell them what to do. They needed a god, and apparently any god would do, even one of their own making. They were ready to create a god and a religion based on their hundreds of years of experiences in bondage. How very human of them.

While We Were Sleeping

 

The alarming thing has nothing to do with health or elections or wars. The alarming thing is the control of lies. It would be nice if we could eliminate all the lies and have nothing but truth left, as that would clear a lot of things up. The problem and what makes it the alarming thing is, who gets to decide?

YouTube announced it is removing accounts it considers to be providing misinformation. It could be right, and maybe it is misinformation. If it is, it should be removed, or should it? I think it probably has a right under its terms of use. But should it remove information, even if it’s proven to be bad information?

Join Jim and Greg as they react to Gen. Milley and Gen. McKenzie telling lawmakers they recommended keeping 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to avoid the very debacle that ended up happening – a recommendation Pres. Biden denied just last month.  They also hammer New York Gov. Kathy Hochul for forcing health care workers to lose their jobs unless they got vaccinated by midnight.  In addition, they cringe over Hochul saying that God wants everyone to be vaccinated her urging supporters to be her vaccination “apostles.”  And they sigh as Biden suggests we need a 97 or 98 percent vaccination rate to get back to normal.